Gary, IN - For the second time in three years, Superior Construction Company, Inc., has received Indiana Construction Association's (ICA) highest safety award, the Pinnacle Safety Award. The Gary, Indiana-based company bested nearly 40 other entrants in the ICA's 2010 competition because of its "excellent safety culture," says ICA Director of Contractor Relations George Sheraw.
"It was evident to the judges as they reviewed a summary of responses from surveys completed by a random selection of Superior's onsite workers and supervisors, that they understand and follow the company's safety program," he says. "In addition, all onsite workers at Superior have received OSHA 10-Hour training."
Thomas Owens, Safety Director at Superior Construction, says that the award is especially gratifying due to the way in which winners are determined. "The ICA safety award program is unique within the construction industry," he notes.
Companies submitting nominations have to provide: confirmation of eligibility, documentation of company statistics; a company safety survey checklist; a survey of the components of their safety program survey; a description of at least three best safety practices; and an explanation of their programs effectiveness to improve worker safety. These are all common requirements for just about any safety awards program - but ICA takes the additional step of asking a company's employees what they think, and know, about the company's safety program.
"What makes this program so unique is a confidential worker and supervisor survey," Owens says. "We randomly passed out 30 surveys to tradespeople and 10 surveys to supervisors. After the questions were answered and the comments were written down, the employees placed their surveys in provided envelopes, sealed them and then returned them to our safety department for submittal with the application. Employee questionnaires weigh heavily on the judges decisions in selection of the winners."
In Superior Construction's case, not only did the surveys reveal that employees knew and understood the safety program, but also that the company took a strongly proactive approach to safety. "While many contractor applicants had outstanding safety programs, Superior's 'Good Catch' program stood out," Sheraw says. "This program rewards workers for reporting 'near-misses' or 'close calls.' This gives Superior the opportunity to investigate the close calls and make appropriate changes before they become actual incidents."
The employee-driven nature of the ICA awards ("These awards truly belong to our outstanding safety minded employees," Owens says) also means that they are more than just pretty trophies. They become part of a company's safety program improvement process. After the awards presentation, all applicants receive a summary of their employee responses to their survey questions. Those responses can give all participating contractors insight into improving their safety programs.
In addition to the Pinnacle Safety Award, Superior Construction also received a Gold Summit Award in the category of Highway, Heavy, and Utility Prime Contractor over 300,000 Indiana onsite hours. This was the third Golden Summit honor given to Superior Construction in the past three years. In that period, the company has also received safety awards from other organizations, including the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable (NWIBRT), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the National Maintenance Agreements Policy Committee (NMAPC).